By Eric Montgomery, HAAC Director of Sports Information & Marketing
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) Council of Presidents is pleased to announce that it has approved the applications of Grand View University of Des Moines, Iowa, and William Penn University of Oskaloosa, Iowa, for membership into the conference.
Currently members of the Midwest Collegiate Conference and Mid-States Football Midwest Conference, Grand View and William Penn will immediately join the conference to participate in administrative matters and strategic planning. Each institution will begin on-field competition in the conference during the 2015-16 academic year.
The HAAC will undergo an expansion from its current membership of 10 institutions to 12, marking the greatest number of schools to be a part of the conference during any point of its 43-year history. Peru State College was the most recent institution to join the conference, starting competition during the 2011-12 academic season. Baker University, Graceland University and Missouri Valley College have been members since the inception of the HAAC in 1971.
"I was instructed over the last four to five years to expand the conference and its geographic footprint," said commissioner Larry Lady, who is serving in his 21st and final year in the role. "The addition of Grand View University and William Penn University are a great geographic addition and are both excellent institutions to join the HAAC, which we believe is one of the finest conferences in the NAIA.
Grand View and William Penn will raise the number of institutions who have held membership in the conference at any point during its history to 17. Both institutions will field teams that will compete in conference play in the following sports: men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, volleyball, football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's indoor track and field, baseball, softball, men's and women's outdoor track and field, and men's and women's golf.
"Grand View University is extremely excited about the opportunity to join the Heart of America Athletic Conference," said Grand View Director of Athletics Troy Plummer. "As Grand View athletics has grown over the years and has added sports, we felt that it was necessary to look for a conference where all of our sports would have the opportunity to operate under the same umbrella. We feel the Heart of America Athletic Conference will allow us to enjoy the same quality competition and collegiality in which we have become accustomed to in the Midwest Collegiate Conference."
"We are excited to be accepted into the Heart of America Athletic Conference," said Greg Hafner, Athletics Director at William Penn. "This will provide us with stability and good competition for many years to come."
The HAAC currently consists of the following institutions: Avila University (Kansas City, Mo.), Baker University (Baldwin City, Kan.), Benedictine College (Atchison, Kan.), Central Methodist University (Fayette, Mo.), Culver-Stockton College (Canton, Mo.), Evangel University (Springfield, Mo.), Graceland University (Lamoni, Iowa), MidAmerica Nazarene University (Olathe, Kan.), Missouri Valley College (Marshall, Mo.), and Peru State College (Peru, Neb.).